Harrington has a Hat Trick in his Sights
Padraig Harrington has the chance to joins an elite club when he tees up tomorrow in the final round of The 144TH Open Championship.
The 43 year-old Irishman has already won two Open titles – in 2007 and 2008 – and he now has a chance to emulate the likes of Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo if he can complete the treble in what is his 19TH appearance in the Championship.
Harrington began the third round seven shots off the pace after opening rounds of 72 and 69 but he is now very much back in the melting pot after a majestic seven-under-par 65 left him within touching distance of the leaders with 18 holes left to go.
It represented a remarkable transformation in the Irishman’s recent fortunes having endured an extended spell in the doldrums prior to bouncing back with a win in the Honda Classic earlier on this year.
He’s also be the first to admit that he has been far from consistent since that latest triumph having missed five cuts out of eight on his subsequent appearances on the PGA Tour.
Harrington began his third round with birdie on the first and he was also to take advantage of the benign conditions with further advances at the 3TH, 5TH and 9TH to reach the turn in four-under-par 32. He proceeded to score three consecutive threes from the 10TH to move to six-under-par for the day before completing his lowest ever round in The Open with his seventh birdie of the day on the 16TH hole.
“I’ve always wanted to shoot 65 on the Sunday of an Open,” he laughed. “Today was very, very important. This is not a golf course the leaders tend to come back on.
“If it’s a nice day tomorrow realistically you’re talking about 16- or 17-under being the winning score and you ain’t going to be doing that from six- or seven-under or I knew I need to shoot a low score.
“We’ll have something to play for tomorrow.”
Harrington went on the say he was relishing the opportunity of challenging for another Major title.
“It has been a while. It was probably at the 2012 US Open at the Olympic Club that I had my last realistic chance. I have won a few tournaments – the odd one here and there – but this is different and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
The Irishman confirmed that he was not concerned that his caddie and close friend Ronan Flood had injured his back during the course of the round. “It was more entertainment than anything else for me coming home,” he joked. “He went lame on the 10TH. It’s just as well he’s the jockey and I’m the horse.”